Friday, December 12, 2008

Templar Audiobook

The Knights Templar: The History and Myths of the Legendary Military Order is now available as an unabridged audio book. Of course, being the author, I was the last to hear about this... But never mind! It sounds good, and is available from both Audible (US) and (UK).

Incidentally, the book will receive its first UK paperback publication next June. More details hither. (Or is should it be yonder?)

Very blustery night here - thinking of repairing to the pub (as they have an open fire)... It's too cold to write, dammit! And it's an astrologically significant night, to boot.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Return of Mercurius

A quick plug for a great book: Patrick Harpur's near legendary, and long out-of-print, novel Mercurius: The Marriage of Heaven and Earth has just been republished by Glastonbury's Squeeze Press (an imprint of the Wooden Books empire, I believe). This is one of the best novels about alchemy ever written.

I can also highly recommend his two mind-bending works of non-fiction, Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld and The Philosopher's Secret Fire : A History of the Imagination Life changing books, honestly.

Speaking of my own secret fire, well, it's guttering, but will no doubt be shining brightly again soon with a few well-aimed gusts of the alchemical bellows...

Monday, September 22, 2008

TV Appearance 23/09/08

I'm appearing in a programme on British TV tomorrow, Tuesday 23rd September. The Trial of the Templars is on Channel 5 at 2000, and is repeated on Sunday 28th at 1100. I did 6 interviews for the programme, but whether they've used all of them remains to be seen. Apparently certain things have been cut, such as the footage of the Chinon carvings, which is a pity as they're fascinating things to study. Also appearing are Barbara Frale and Alain Demurger. John the Baptist demanded too high a fee, and hence will not be appearing in the programme.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Memento Mori

Friday: David Foster Wallace. Monday: Richard Wright. 'Say goodnight to the folks, Gracie.' (B. Fawlty)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Year Off

In a post that will generally buck the trend of this blog, I can report that I have spent all of August - well, most of it - in a farmhouse in upstate New York working on Elias. This is the first concerted bit of work I've done on it in a year, and I'm very pleased with the results. It feels good to be back on the case again. More needs to be done, as ever, but I'm hoping I could have a draft of The Cosmopolite (the first narrative) finished by Christmas.

When I wasn't working on Elias, I was working on my next delve into the world of film studies, New Waves in Cinema, which is also shaping up after 18 months of peripatetic work. The book will now be out next September (which means it's over a year late - a personal best!). The main development this week has been in terms of chapters - what goes, what stays, and where to put the Germans (I've decided that the chapter on the New German Cinema will make a good last chapter before the Conclusion, which will talk about Kiarostami and Lars von Trier).

On top of all this is a rumoured follow-up of sorts to my Templar book, which will be a lavishly illustrated account of their rival order the Teutonic Knights. More news on that front - generally Baltic and pagan - as and when.

The Templars is still doing brisk business, and 23 September will see me on TV again, in a programme called Secrets of the Cross. It'll be on UK Channel 5 at 8 pm, and it will see your humble author holding forth about our old chums and what they got up to - or not. One of the highlights of the shoot was visiting Chinon castle, where de Molay and other leading Templars were held in 1308. Some of the imprisoned brethren carved mysterious symbols into the dungeon walls which have never been adequately explained. Perhaps the best evidence that some of them were indeed straying from the straight and narrow of church orthodoxy... Or perhaps they were just pre-empting postmodernism.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Cathars and Amazons

For those of you who speak German or live in Germany, the illustrated German edition of Cathars is now on Click here to pre-order. The rather nice cover is not yet on the site, but will be soon.

In due course, the French edition should appear on; not sure about the Dutch and Spanish editions, as Amazon don't have sites there. (For buying a copy of the former, I recommend the bookshop at Schipol, one of my favourite airports. I can further recommend perusing said new purchase in the Grand Cafe, a few minutes' walk away. Another favourite haunt of mine when changing planes...)

The English edition will probably appear on first, probably sometime next spring.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ernest Scribbler Strikes Again

No, it's not the Funniest Joke in the World, but rather a just-published piece of writing that I've done for the BFI release of Bill Douglas Trilogy [1972]

These films were made between 1972 and 1978, and are amongst the best - and most underrated - British films ever made. Bill is the great forgotten poet of British cinema, a cinema that sadly seems embarrassed by poetry and films in which there is a complete lack of sentiment, a refusal to pander to dumb Hollywood narratives or TV platitudes. In short, these films are at times painful to watch - but also remarkably tender at the same time. Bill has been compared to such European masters as Bresson and Dreyer, but for me, he is the cinematic equivalent of Ted Hughes. These films, like Ted's poetry, have an overwhelming physical force that is almost completely unique; there is certainly almost nothing to compare it with in British cinema (Terence Davies is the name that crops up most, although I think TD's films are very different.)

The BFI have done a great job: great transfers of the three films, plus some good extras. And the booklet features newly commissioned essays, including a brief one by myself (on Stephen Archibald, Jamie from the Trilogy, who had, if anything, an even worse life than Bill did himself).

Do yourself a huge, poetic favour and buy a copy from the link below. Films really don't get any better than these. (Well, not forgetting Bill's final film, Comrades!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Templars Announce Reunion Tour of France

No updates for a while, as I've been busy with my two film projects, Folie à Deux and Lanterna Magicka. Plus I've also just come back from la belle France - belle that is, apart from their appalling non-vegetarian friendly cuisine and smug, lying waiters - where I have been appearing in a new documentary that will air on Channel 5 in September. Secrets of the Cross will be a four episode series, featuring programmes on Mary Magdalene, the so-called 'Jesus Tomb' in Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate and our old friends the Knights Templar. This is the one I will be in, and sees me holding forth in such belle locations as Troyes, Chinon and La Rochelle. It was a great trip, made all the more so by the fact that we were allowed into the dungeons at Chinon to see the mysterious carvings made my imprisoned Templars in 1308. Very strange indeed - they're either the C14th equivalent of naive art, or they're something esoteric; definitely not standard Christian iconography. (Chinon, incidentally, is Rabelais' hometown, what he called his 'old cow country'.)

My next book, the one after New Waves in Cinema, which I am still working on when the Man from Porlock is not hammering at the door with more trivial merde to distract me, is going to be on the Templars' chums, the Teutonic Knights. I hope this will be an excuse to get some nice pagan illustrations in the book - the TKs crusaded against pagans in the Baltic - preferrably either from Marketa Lazarova or the pagan episode of Andrei Rublev.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


It's 13th March again. Comes round quicker than ever, or so it seems. It is, of course, the anniversary - the 406th to be precise - of the fabled Enkhuizen transmutation, which features in Part I of Elias. It's come to be something of an important date for me, along with two other dates from the novel, 26th August and 27th December, both of which appear in Part IV, in the narrative concerning Dr Helvetius. Time may pass, but the secrets of the Art remain intact; at least that is the feeling I get more strongly the more I work on this, which makes it all the harder to find the time to settle down and actually spend some quality time with the project; furthermore, any ETA at the end of the beast is purely hypothetical. When will it be finished? Can it be finished? Mercurius is still toying with your humble author, it would seem, and will probably continue to do so for a little while yet. But at least observing the anniversaries makes me still feel some deep, unspoken connection to the Royal Art.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Cathars - New Edition

My book The Cathars: The Most Successful Heresy of the Middle Ages is being reissued in an illustrated edition. It will appear sometime next year in the States, and possibly the UK too. Before that, hopefully around this August/September, the illustrated version will appear in French, German, Dutch and Spanish. The publisher will be Taschen.

Meanwhile, your author is being visited by Gentlemen from Porlock, meaning that his next effort, New Waves in Cinema, is being constantly delayed, interrupted and generally buggered around with. Hopefully I can get the beast slayed by the end of next month. Or the month after that.

No novel-writing news to speak of, although I hope to spend a week with Lindsay and various hand-picked lost souls in Devon in September for an intensive session on Elias. Ideally, progress will have been made by then, and hopefully more than just 'oh dear, he's signed his name again', if I may quote the scriptures.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Podcast

A new podcast, featuring myself and Gordon Strong, is available as of today from Geoff Ward's Mysterious West page at the Western Daily Press. Scroll down and look for 'Week 42'. The interview was recorded in the middle of last month, and features your author holding forth on a short film he is currently making about Gordon, and also talks about the usual (Gnostics, Cathars and a few other pet obsessions).